By Laura Faer
Civil rights advocates, judges and law enforcement sometimes wind up on different sides of the public debate about juvenile justice. But on the issue of school discipline, we’re speaking the same language.
That’s because harsh school discipline rules are paving the way for too many students to wind up kicked out of school and on their way to jail. After witnessing 20 years of a so-called zero tolerance approach to discipline in our public schools, we have piles of evidence that it doesn’t work, either in class or in the community. These rules don’t help students learn to control their behavior or be accountable to themselves or others. Instead they lead to an unsupervised, frankly sometimes welcomed, vacation for youth who are already struggling in school and they teach all the wrong lessons.